Florida State coach Willie Taggart tries to ‘salvage this recruiting class’

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When the Florida State coaching job came open, the one name that came up instantly to replace Jimbo Fisher was Willie Taggart.

While Taggart has successfully rebuilt three programs during his coaching career, the main criterion that arose when his name was brought up was his prowess as a recruiter.

Taggart won six games during his first two years at South Florida, but he recruited well enough to stock the roster with talent. The Bulls would go on to win 19 games over his next two seasons, and they won nine games this year mostly with players he recruited.

During his one season at Oregon, he had the Ducks primed to land a top-10 class. The Ducks’ 2018 class still rates 10th nationally and is the top-ranked class in the Pac-12, according to the 247Sports composite rankings, even after suffering a number of de-commitments in the aftermath of Taggart’s departure.

So it makes sense that a big part of Taggart’s future plans for the Seminoles involve getting it done on the recruiting trail.

During Taggart’s introductory press conference last Wednesday, he addressed the topic of recruiting and elaborated on what he plans to do in the immediate future.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” Taggart said. “Speaking of recruiting, there’s an early signing day from Dec. 20-22 and it’s right around the corner. There’s a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. I plan to get to working to try and salvage this recruiting class. I know growing up, I wanted to be a ‘Nole. I know there’s a lot of ‘Noles that want to be here. We are going to find the right guys that want to come here and do the right things.”

The new Seminoles coach also acknowledged the challenges that lie ahead now that he’s taking over a program so late in the current cycle. In the early stages of his tenure in Tallahassee, his immediate strategy has been to lock up important 2018 commitments such as 4-star defensive tackle pledge Robert Cooper.

“It’s tough because you have to start over in building relationships,” Taggart said. “The young men want to know who is going to coach the football team. It’s difficult because of the relationships you have to build and you have a short time to build those relationships and it’s a challenge, but I love challenges like that and I’m looking forward to this one.”

While he’s regarded as one of the best recruiters in the nation — and particularly lauded for his prowess in recruiting the Sunshine State — he plans to use an inside-out strategy with respect to recruiting the Seminoles’ home territory.

“We have the best football in the country here in the state of Florida,” Taggart explained. “You have to because we are located here and we need to put a fence around the state of Florida and keep our best players here. But we are also a national brand at Florida State University and we don’t have to settle for anything. We will go after the best nationwide, but we will take care of home. We are going to try to get the best players that we can to come and play for us because that’s what our school deserves and that is what we expect.”

The post Florida State coach Willie Taggart tries to ‘salvage this recruiting class’ appeared first on Diehards.

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